What is the program?
The Shared Work Program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor (“CTDOL”). It is designed to save jobs and retain workers by offering an alternative to layoffs. It allows employers to temporarily reduce an employee’s hours and supplement lost wages with partial unemployment benefits.
What are the requirements?
- Employers must have at least two permanent part or full-time employees.
- Participation should be in lieu of layoffs and not used for seasonal separations.
- Reduction of work and wages must be between 10 and 60 percent.
- Employers cannot eliminate or reduce any fringe benefits during the duration of the approved plan. Fringe benefits include, but are not limited to, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, seniority accrual and similar advantages of employment.
- Employees must be able to work and available for additional hours of work with the participating employer.
- Affected employees must certify that a written copy of the plan, or a summary, was made available to them for inspection and comment for at least 7 days.
What are the benefits?
- Are better able to ensure their employees are in a position to resume working following the economic downturn.
- Can reduce employees’ work between 10 and 60 percent.
- Can avoid the expense of recruiting, hiring and training new employees.
- Can prevent their employees from avoiding the hardships of full unemployment.
Who can apply?
Any Connecticut employer whose taxes or reimbursement payments are currently up to date is eligible to apply for the program.
How do employers participate?
Employers must submit an application to the CTDOL either by facsimile or e-mail. The application can be found here. The CTDOL will generally issue a decision within 30 days.
How does the program work?
If the application is approved, the plan will begin on a Sunday and expires on a Saturday approximately six months thereafter. During the six-month period, eligible employees work a reduced number of hours in the workweeks and receive a portion of their weekly unemployment compensation based on the percentage of the reduction.
Employee A works 40-hours per week and earns $20 an hour in regular pay. Under the program, Employee A’s hours are reduced by 50 percent.
What if the employee works more than their reduced hours?
Employees cannot receive Shared Work Program benefits in any week when he or she workers more than their reduced hours unless there is a corresponding modification to the plan.
Who does the plan cover?
The plan can cover the employer’s total workforce of permanent part or full-time employees, a particular shift, or a specific unit.
What if the employee uses paid time off?
Employees must work at least one day during a Shared Work week in order to be eligible for payment under the program. Therefore, if an employee chooses to take five days of paid time off during a workweek the employee cannot used Shared Work to cover one or more of the days missed.
What if there is a union?
Employers can still participate in the Shared Work program provided that their shared work plan is approved, in writing, by the union’s representative.
Can an application be denied?
Generally, the CTDOL rejects applications for good cause. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan, unpaid CTDOL taxes, unreasonable revision of productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the plan, and violation of any criteria on which the approval is based.
Can a denial be appealed?
No, reasons for rejection or revocation of a plan are final. However, the employer may submit another application for consideration and the CTDOL will make a determination based on the new data submitted.
¹ This situation is a hypothetical example. Any benefit or award of benefits will be determined by the CTDOL and based on that current maximum weekly benefit rate in effect at the time